What is the Pacific Rim?

The Pacific Rim is made up of the countries that ring the Pacific Ocean, from Oceania and Asia to the Americas. All of these countries, due to their location, have undergone huge economic changes, and there are numerous imports between the states of the Pacific Rim.

The countries of the Pacific Rim are continually gaining strength in the world economy. From the time the Americas were colonized up until a few years ago, the Atlantic Ocean was the most common way to ship materials and finished goods. That changed in the first part of the 1990s, when the value of trans-Pacific goods exceeded that of goods shipped across the Atlantic.

Four Pacific Rim countries have been coined "economic tigers" because of their economic policies- Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Since the absorption of Hong Kong by China, its status is in question. Together, the four countries have challenged Japan as the dominant force in the Asian economy.

The industrial growth and prosperity of South Korea is tied to its manufacture of everything from cars to clothing. It is about three times larger than the island of Taiwan, and its traditional agricultural base is giving way to one of industry. The average South Korean works about fifty hours per week, giving them one of the longest work weeks in the world.

Though not recognized by the UN, Taiwan is a Pacific Rim economic power. The island is claimed by China and the two are ostensibly at war. Taiwan is fourteen thousand square miles in size and its capital is Taipei, and the country has the world's twentieth largest economy.

Singapore began its foray into the world economy by serving as a through-port for the shipment of goods throughout the Malay Peninsula. It won its independence in 1965, and because of its location and its governmental control, it has used its limited size to maximum advantage.

Hong Kong became a part of China in 1997 after being a UK territory for the last 99 years. The merger of a capitalist economy with a communist one mesmerized the world. Since the merger, Hong Kong still has English as its official language, along with the Cantonese dialect. Since then, a provisional legislature has been installed with limits on activities by opposition parties.